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Delays come to an end (EU HSR 2009)

by DoDo Sun Dec 13th, 2009 at 07:25:23 AM EST

Today (13 December), full high-speed service started on five European lines. Thus, 2009 is another year of major expansion, after 2007. However, that only because all but one of the five have been delayed.

There is one technology shared by all five lines: ETCS Level 2. The letter soup stands for European Train Control System (the main element of ERTMS, the European Rail Traffic Management System), which is meant to do away with a technical obstacle to trans-border traffic: the multitude of national signalling and train safety/control systems. The unproblematic Level 1 is more conventional, the troubled Level 2 uses wireless communication. In the past year, at last it gained some stability in regular use on three Italian lines (UPDATE: after already gaining it on lower-speed Swiss lines, see comments), now its use will be expanded greatly.

A German Railways (DB) ICE 3 runs towards Brussels on the Aachen–Liège line at twice the speed of cars on the parallel A3/E40 highway (row of street lights), near Welkenraedt, 26 September 2009. Photo reproduced with prior approval from RailPictures.Net © 2009 François Pobez. All Rights Reserved

Below the fold, an introduction of the EU's five new lines and one extra. In a few days, a sequel will follow with an overview of what else is in construction.



1. [Liège–]Chenée–Hammerbrücke[–Aachen] (HSL/LGV 3)

This 42 km, €830 million line completes the Brussels–Cologne "high-speed connection". In scare quotes because the designation isn't really deserved for a jumble of shorter sections of new tracks and upgrades. Yet, the old line was so slow that time savings were still significant.

The Brussels–Cologne corridor. Thick lines indicate the new high-speed lines (HSL 2, 3) and upgrades involving quadruple-tracking (36N, most of ABS 4) or line speed raises. The Aachen–Düren section, which carries the load of Antwerp port freight traffic too, is to be upgraded at last for 160–200 km/h [UPDATE: the 200 km/h foreseen on a single section is apparently no more in the plans, I'm told by the map site owner] with some extra tracks.
Map based on Boris Chomenko's BeNeLux and Rhein-Ruhr area maps at Trainspotting Bükkes. Colors indicate voltages; see legend with next map

The model for Belgian high-speed line construction was that of France, which involves as short tunnelling as possible on principle. Thus, the Liège–Aachen section is noteworthy for the 6,505 m Soumagne Tunnel (Belgium's longest), which accomplishes the climb from the river valley at Liège up to a plateau. But geology was no obstacle: in fact, the line was complete and ready for traffic in 2007. The problem was ETCS Lev 2.

I mentioned the cursed train control system in almost every diary on high-speed rail. ETCS Lev 2 applies third-generation cell phone technology. IMHO a fundamentally bad idea: for train control, you need to maintain a continuous, stable connection, but 3G wireless technology was not like that. The system was revised several times after unsatisfactory tests – sometimes in parallel, leading to incompatible products.

The Liège–Aachen line was one of many lines that, for most stupid cost-saving considerations, was projected with ETCS Lev 2 alone (no fall-back) before the system was even field-tested. When the line was finished in 2007, yet another ETCS Lev 2 revision (2.3.0) delayed and complicated the retrofitting of trains. So German Railways DB's ICE3 high-speed trains put the line in revenue service only on 14 June 2009. From today (13 December), the TGV-derived trains of the international Thalys consortium (running Paris–Brussels–Cologne//Amsterdam services) switch to the new line, too, cutting 29 minutes from the Brussels–Cologne schedule (to 1h47m).

Liège also got a grand new main station designed by Spanish star architect Santiago Calatrava, Liège-Guillemins (also see Railway Cathedrals). It was completed and inaugurated on 19 September 2009, but in service earlier: Thalys PBKA 4322 stopped there on 21 July. Photo from Images des Chemins de Fer


2. Antwerp–Rotterdam–Amsterdam (HSL 4/HSL Zuid)

This international line shall see very heavy traffic. C. 133 km of the 162 km connection is new track.

Split in two: a questionable cost-saving measure was to leave away dedicated tracks (and AC electrification) between the Antwerp–Rotterdam and Rotterdam–Amsterdam sections; something repeated with the (also new) perpendicular Betuweroute freight line.
Map adapted from Trainspotting Bükkes

This line was first promised for 2005. There have been some construction problems, but the first major delay was caused by a project change (a court ordered a cut in place of a bridge for environmental reasons). Then the even bigger delay had nothing to do with fixed assets: a troublesome train manufacturer, and ETCS Lev 2 again.

Operator NS Hispeed called a tender for new trains for 250 km/h regional services, and went for the cheapest offer: Italian maker AnsaldoBreda's off-the-drawing-board V250 "Albatros". Trouble was, AnsaldoBreda was already heavily delayed with its previous order, the IC4 for Danish State Railways DSB, itself the result of mighty trouble with its priority project, the new E403 electric locomotive series for Italian State Railways FS (see comment in From Universal to Modular).

As temporary solution, locomotive-pulled trains were to run, but these had to be fitted with ETCS Lev 1. At last on 15 June 2009, 200 km/h regional trains began to serve the Belgian section, followed by 160 km/h trains (premiering the cool brand name Fyra, for "four" in Swedish[!]) between Amsterdam and Rotterdam. Finally today (13 December), 300 km/h Thalys trains start service along the entire line – with a catch: until the locomotive-pulled trains are replaced with the Albatroses, Thalys will run Rotterdam–Amsterdam at 160 km/h, too... Still, the other section was enough to reduce the Antwerp–Amsterdam time by no less than 56 minutes (to 1h12m).

E 186 115 (a Bombardier TRAXX 2E, see From Universal to Modular) and a train in Fyra colours on a Rotterdam–Amsterdam test run near Rodenrijs. Notice the slab tracks. Photo from NS Hispeed's gallery

I note finances are messy, too – it's a PPP project. The price tag is €7 billion.


3. Novara–Milan (AV/AC Torino–Milano second leg)

Almost all high-speed lines built in Italy so far join up in a giant arc, from Turin to Salerno. The last three gaps are opened today (13 December).

High-speed lines in the Italian rail network. Connecting lower-speed dedicated tracks also shown (including those for the future Milan–Verona–Venice–Trieste line). Based on Trainspotting Bükkes's Italy map

The northernmost new section completes the Turin–Milan line (the first part was opened early for the 2006 Winter Olympics, see my then diary Alta Velocità), reducing runtime by another half an hour (to 52 minutes). This is the only line this year finished on time, but with a price tag ballooning to an unbelievable €2.9 billion for just 39 km – a record €74 million/km. (The construction authority stopped posting spending figures in its monthly construction updates in the Berlusconi era – I have dark suspicions...)


4. Bologna–Florence (AV/AC Bologna–Firenze)

Most traffic crosses the Apennines between Bologna and Florence. The new high-speed line is the third rail line in the corridor – and the least compromising: it is in effect a tunnel chain, 71.5 km underground on a 78.5 km line (also see Tunnels).

Profile of the Bologna–Florence high-speed line. RFI diagram via FOL News

Water control has been rather poor during construction, explaining part of the 3-year delay. A total of €5.8 billion was spent – another €74 million per kilometre cost.

Track authority RFI has a cunning PR strategy to increase the Italian rail speed record by minute amounts on each of its new lines. The current record, documented by RFI's above video still (via FOL News) is more special for having been achieved in a tunnel

The most important traffic carried by the line is Milan–Rome non-stop, running against what was the EU's second busiest air route in 2007. Exactly a year ago, the Milan–Bologna line (see Red Arrow to Bologna) already saved 37 minutes, and the then new non-stop runs another 29 minutes. This was enough to boost rail's share of the total road/rail/air market from 32 to 50%. And that shall jump again: Bologna–Florence cuts another half an hour (to 2h59m).


5. Gricignano–Naples (AV/AC Roma–Napoli last section)

The Rome–Naples high-speed line premiered 300 km/h traffic in Italy (see Alta Velocità again). However, it also premiered ETCS Lev 2 – turning passengers into guinea pigs. Service started with just 3 train pairs and not so iffy scheduled times (long buffers for delays); transition to full-speed, high-frequency service took years.

In addition, the last 19 km was delayed until today (13 December): on one hand, there were significant archaeological finds along the section, on the other hand, a new station on the section had to be re-tendered. Now another 11 minutes could be cut from scheduled times (to 1h10m).


Honorary mention: [Ankara–]Esenkent–Eskişehir[–Istanbul]

Turkey started construction of a network of high-performance lines. These are only for 250 km/h and mixed-traffic, but, relative to the existing network, the ambition can only be compared with Spain's. The birth of the project was somewhat accidental: the country's most important line was to be upgraded, but when it became obvious that extensive alignment modifications would be needed, they went bolder and projected an entirely new line – which gave people even bolder ideas.

This first 206 km section, c. 40% of the Ankara–Istanbul line, is in service since 13 March 2009, using trains made by Spanish maker CAF. More of this line, and two more to Konya and Siva are in advanced construction.

Above: a HT65000 high-speed train of Turkish Railways TCDD runs along the new line. Photo from TCDD

Below: TCDD showcases its new toys: a HT65000 on the new line in the cut, and a DM15000 diesel multiple unit (made by South Korean maker Rotem at its Turkish factory Eurotem) on the crossing old line, near Yunusemre. Photo from Radikal

:: :: :: :: ::

Check the Train Blogging index page for a (hopefully) complete list of ET diaries and stories related to railways and trains.

Display:

FS presents this beautiful photo of an ETR 500 P in Frecciarossa colours as one made on the Rome-Naples line. But that didn't look right -- indeed I found it's Oreno Viaduct on the Florence-Rome line. I'm not sure what this PR department 'carefreeness' is an indication of.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Sun Dec 13th, 2009 at 07:27:26 AM EST
As indicated, I'll post a follow-up on what's still in construction around Europe on Wednesday or Thursday.

Some time next year, I shall look beyond Europe, too: that is, China, the high-speed system of which deserves a diary of its own.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Sun Dec 13th, 2009 at 07:29:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
What a great diary!  I am going to send the link to a colleague of mine who wants to travel Italy by train some day.
by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Sun Dec 13th, 2009 at 10:39:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yesterday, 250 km/h traffic officially started in another country: Russia. The Sapsan high-speed trains (Siemens Velaro RUS, a descendant of the German ICE3) now run along the upgraded Moscow-St. Petersburg mainline. However, I don't know any details: e.g. which parts of the line are fit for the new top speed, how much of that the trains are actually scheduled run at top speed, and how they dealt with any technical issues (signalling, tolerances, maintenance) that might throw a hammer in the works.



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Fri Dec 18th, 2009 at 03:05:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Thalys has a real cool video up: cab view along a journey (across Brussels and then on the old Liège-Aachen line), in Matrix style (accelerated and slow-motion parts).

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sun Dec 13th, 2009 at 11:08:58 AM EST
>> the troubled Level 2 ... In the past year, at last it gained some stability in regular use on three Italian lines

This system already got earlier the stability for regular use since the worlds first successful ETCS Level 2 operation was installed in Switzerland on the line Zofingen - Sempach. Between April 2002 and November 2003 all train on the line used ETCS Level 2. There were more than 1000 trains every week of all categories (express, freight, maintenance, etc.) using the system. It was more reliable than the average signaling system in use in Switzerland. Most of the delays were caused by engineer not really familiar with the registration procedure when entering the ETCS 2 signaling route. The equipment was supplied by Bombardier, but the installation had to be removed since the ETCS system specification was upgraded and made the system incompatible to the ETCS system to be introduced on the new line Mattsteten - Rothrist.

Beside the already mentioned Italian high-speed lines it is also in use on the following lines in Switzerland:

New Line Mattsteten - Rothrist with upgraded line to Solothurn, Switzerland (part wise in operation since 2006, full operation since December 2007)
The introduction of full ETCS level 2 operation on this line was delayed by 3 years since the project was carried out by Alstom. This company did not have any experience with the system and its commissioning at this time. Therefor a lot of experiences Bombardier already made on the Zofingen - Sempach line had to be repeated by Alstom

Lötschberg Base Tunnel (full operation since December 2007)

The main problem of ETCS  introduction is basically the very complicated verification of correct function of the software. Furthermore the functionality of the system was several times upgraded to meet requirements of the operation like ETCS supervised supply voltage system change on the Belgian high-speed line or ETCS supervised backwards driving in the Lötschberg Base Tunnel.

The continuous upgrade of the specification and the complexity of testing made the manufacturers leaving away all functions not really required for the intended ETCS use on the railway vehicle. This led to the situation that ETCS equipped vehicles can only operate on the ETCS route for which they have bee designed for and not every where were ETCS of the proper level has been installed. This fact the engineers realized very early but not all the managers.

by pcrail on Sun Dec 13th, 2009 at 07:02:25 PM EST
Thanks for the expert additions! Definitely forgot about Mattstetten-Rothrist, and I wasn't aware of the upgrade background of the Seetalbahn ETCS dismantling.

Therefor a lot of experiences Bombardier already made on the Zofingen - Sempach line had to be repeated by Alstom

Thant makes sense. The exception is operation at higher speeds, though I guess that took up only a third of the development time. (And going from 200 to 250 km/h was abandoned apparently?)

Lötschberg Base Tunnel (full operation since December 2007)... This led to the situation that ETCS equipped vehicles can only operate on the ETCS route for which they have bee designed for and not every where were ETCS of the proper level has been installed.

When Italy started ETCS Lev 2 operation at 300 km/h on the Rome-Naples and Turin-Novara lines, initial policy was to have only one single train on the line, so that train control not be needed for much, train frequency was ramped up in three years1. I wonder if the fact that much of the Lötschberg Base Line is single-track could simplify matters, too?

:: :: :: :: ::

What about Spain? Do you have any insight into why ADIF is drawing out the switch to ETCS Level 2 (and 350 km/h) for so long? (I was told it's the stability but that was 2-3 years ago.)


  1. The last train stop caused by signal loss I saw reported hit the inauguration train on the Milan-Bologna line a year ago.

 

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sun Dec 13th, 2009 at 08:07:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Mattstetten-Rothrist was actually not planed to operate at higher speeds than 200 km/h. The loco 2000 of SBB are only designed for 230 km/h.

Lötschberg Tunnel is 34.6 km long where 20 km are single line. The trains follow each other in the single track section. Double track is not yet finished for cost saving reason.

Spain will be soon ready. There was not a real high priority for this since they have ETCS Level 1 and LZB in service. In case these system fails they can still go on the old ASFA. Spain has high-speed trains with 5 different train protections: ASFA, LZB, ETCS Level 1, ETCS Level 2 and Ebicab (used on Mediterranean coast corridor).

by pcrail on Wed Dec 16th, 2009 at 06:28:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Mattstetten-Rothrist was actually not planed to operate at higher speeds than 200 km/h. The loco 2000 of SBB are only designed for 230 km/h.

The ICE1 trains to Interlaken, the Cisalpino trains to Basel, and eventual TGVs coming from the LGV Est and Strasbourg down to Berne could have used it at 230-250 km/h, however. I can't cite any extant sources now (will check if I have anything on paper later), and maybe it was all just PR and not something seriously considered by the engineers; but back when the line was in construction, I remember this was mentioned prominently in leaflets and on the line's website.

Lötschberg Tunnel

BTW, checking, line speed was raised from 200 to 250 km/h in December 2008 (albeit apparently without Cisalpino trains to exploit that potential).

Spain will be soon ready. There was not a real high priority for this since they have ETCS Level 1 and LZB in service.

Well, Madrid-Barcelona has ETCS L1 and ASFA now; but got those after ETCS L2, and the top speed was a major PR issue (getting to 300 km/h with L1 was lots of R&D itself). Around January 2008, ADIF's official position was that they won't set a date for 350 km/h operation ( = switch to ETCS L2), but will conduct continuous tests until they can say they trust the system (but again that's official and two years ago, and I didn't hear what's up now with the tests even from inofficial sources).

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Fri Dec 18th, 2009 at 04:00:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Mattstetten-Rothrist:
The line was designed for 200 km/h. See here. The ICE1 is using the high speed line with on-board ETCS equipment sponsored by the Swiss. The TGV did for a long time not use the newline Mattstetten - Rothrist since they did not have the power to reas 200 km/h. This was because of the derating of the transformer when operated with 17 Hz instead of 50 Hz. $

Lötschberg Tunnel
True, max speed is 250 km/h, but no vehicle able to run it in commercial service.

Madrid-Barcelona
The trains operated first only with ASFA, than with ETCS Level 1 with ASFA as fall back system. Getting to 300 km/h was a major issue since the data could not be red correctly from the balises. The line is ready for ETCS Level 2 operation between Madrid and Llerida, but the system is not yet in use. Maybe they want to wait till also the part between Llerida and Barcelona is ready. See also here    
   

by pcrail on Sun Dec 20th, 2009 at 08:16:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The line was designed for 200 km/h. See here.

OK, if the track-builders say that, then indeed any higher speed must have been PR department fluff or early planning.

This was because of the derating of the transformer when operated with 17 Hz instead of 50 Hz.

This is an issue with the older TGV, including the Thalys (though those were modified to run on the Cologne-Düren line at full speed). The TGV POS, however, which in my memory were at one time supposed to come down from Mulhouse to Berne, got new transformers meant for 16.7Hz from the onset.

The trains operated first only with ASFA

...which was installed after Ansaldo's L2 tests didn't go well, resulting in a ten-month delay in the line's opening.

Maybe they want to wait till also the part between Llerida and Barcelona is ready.

Apparently. Many thanks for that link!

* Madrid-Lérida line has fullfilled all the internal tests. Line is fully ready (including Safety Dossier)

  • From May-Dec 2008 Siemens EVC has finished its internal test on this line (Stable EVC SW)...

  • Siemens validation tests and MFOM-ADIF-RENFE Complementary Test has been started. This process will end in July 2009.

  • The other lines are performing internal tests.


*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Tue Dec 22nd, 2009 at 03:09:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The trains operated first only with ASFA

...which was installed after Ansaldo's L2 tests didn't go well, resulting in a ten-month delay in the line's opening.

Do you have any source for this? When was that?

by pcrail on Tue Dec 29th, 2009 at 11:56:36 AM EST
[ Parent ]
This was from notes I took following Spanish media reports and some personal communication, so the links in the reconstruction below are ones I searched now (in the archive of a single paper). Some details are different. To sum up the events in short:

  1. After some other delays, the date for opening in regular service was finally set for 22 December 2002. For lack of own 300km/h+ trains, RENFE planned to lease ICE3 sets from DB.
  2. The inoperability of Ansaldo's ERTMS and the switch to ASFA was reported in January 2003, when the delay was still expected to be short. Also the failure of the DB ICE3 lease was announced, at the time, the (also abandoned) alternative plan was to use some of the TGV-derived AVE sets from the Madrid-Sevilla line.
  3. ASFA installation itself proved problematic. Regular service, with Altaria (locomotive-pulled Talgos) only, finally started on 11 October 2003.

Links (all in Spanish, I read them with help of Google translate):



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Wed Dec 30th, 2009 at 07:11:06 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Terrific diary as usual!

Your maps expose one of the issues with passenger rail in the U.S.: The lack of redundant routes. There are only a few places where passengers can be diverted to other trains, and in the west, there are not even enough tracks to allow trains to be diverted.

This situation was highlighted here in Colorado last week when we had two freight train derailments. The first, a couple of miles from my house in Colorado Springs, was of a coal train. 16 cars at the end of the train, carrying around 1600 tons of coal, just basically fell over. The coal is contaminated with dirt and all has to be put in a landfill because it can't be burned in a powerplant now. Since they shut down the alternate route in the early 1970s, the entire front range freight system was stalled during the cleanup.
http://www.gazette.com/articles/cars-90545-coal-say.html

Then, the next day, there was another derailment west of Denver. This one was a bit more puzzling, because unlike the Colorado Springs event, which took place in a yard where there are lots of turnouts, the Denver one was on a section of continuous welded rail. That's probably why the investigation is expected to take so long. Again, an important route was blocked for half a day.
http://www.denverpost.com/news/ci_13978994

It's interesting that in both cases it was cars at the end of the train. I'm not familiar with how your European freight coupling systems work, but we still have quite a bit of slack between the cars. On our long western train, the cumulative slack at the end of the train can be several feet, all of which can be taken up or let out in one gigantic jerk. That's the real reason that we don't have cabooses any more...

So there are two engineers possibly in trouble for improper train handling...

by asdf on Mon Dec 14th, 2009 at 10:34:40 PM EST
from.  

Not surprised that your weather is different!  

The Fates are kind.

by Gaianne on Tue Dec 15th, 2009 at 12:43:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm not familiar with how your European freight coupling systems work, but we still have quite a bit of slack between the cars.

Except for the Russian broad gauge network and some ore transport cars, European freight trains use screw coupling. Now the rule is that the screw is screwed tighter for passenger cars, so European freight trains have more motion, too. Then again, car have side bumpers, and
also trains are much shorter. So I haven't heard of a derailment caused by longitudinal forces from improper train handling.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Tue Dec 15th, 2009 at 03:58:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Well European trains have screw couplers and are much shorter, but move faster. Train handling of long trains is a real art not to be underestimated. There were some derailments even with passenger trains, where train handling was involved, but not the only reason.  
by pcrail on Wed Dec 16th, 2009 at 06:36:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I note finances are messy, too -- it's a PPP project. The price tag is €7 billion.

One major dent in the finances wasn't directly due to the PPP structure, but to construction fraud. The Dutch government had tendered the line in four tranches and national construction companies colluded to extract maximum profits for each of these.

This is in part a legacy of the Dutch past of glossing over cartels.

I don't know if any and how much of the money was / is being clawed back.

Another part of the cost overrun are the delays due to ERTMS, and another part is the planning procedure in the Netherlands which has meaningful public participation and incorporation of environmental concerns. That last part is of course desirable, in part, but accounts for a significant share of the cost of the HSL Zuid and for a yet larger share of the Betuweroute, which was actually constructed with very little construction cost overruns -- pretty much all of the increases of the budget were design changes.

by nanne (zwaerdenmaecker@gmail.com) on Fri Dec 18th, 2009 at 07:41:41 AM EST
I didn't want to go into an extended tirade against PPP, but I stand by my point that even with the other cowt increases, the Dutch PPP projects have been costly messes. That is:

One major dent in the finances wasn't directly due to the PPP structure, but to construction fraud. The Dutch government had tendered the line in four tranches and national construction companies colluded to extract maximum profits for each of these.

There was more to this. From Privatising Railroads: The Problematic Involvement of the Private Sector in Two Dutch Railway Projects (pdf!):

The privatisation strategy was not formed until 1998, after decisionmaking had been concluded and the programme of requirements had become available. Until then, it had been assumed that traditional contracting out would be pursued by means of 21 separate contracts. Because Parliament and the Ministry of Finance had asked for results in the area of public-private partnerships in 1999 after a market consultation, a decision was made to pursue maximum privatisation for the HSL-South. The idea of a single contract was rejected, as such a contract would be difficult to manage and competition would be limited by the fact that few private companies could handle such a large contract. Eight "design and construct" contracts were decided on for the foundation structures of the rail line, including one for the tunnel under the Green Heart. The superstructure (the infrastructure provider) and the transport service delivery would be tendered in the form of concession contracts. The government would be responsible for coordinating the contracts.

...In 1999, the government started the tender procedures for all of the HSLSouth contracts at the same time. Contracting out the tunnel under the Green Heart proved relatively easy. Foreign companies participated, and innovative proposals led to significant cost reductions. Offers for the other contracts, however, created a panic on the part of the government. The total costs based on the offers amounted to 2.54 billion euros, which was 43 percent higher than the allowable budget of 1.78 billion. It was later revealed that private consortia had made a number of illegal agreements, but these agreements were not the main cause of the exorbitant figures. More important factors were the lack of competition due to the simultaneous contracting-out of a number of large government projects and the high-risk insurance that the companies wanted.

Informal, secret consultations with all bidders together in the hope of persuading them to lower their bids turned out to be fruitless, and the government stopped the tender procedure. The Arbitration Council, however, deemed this decision unlawful, as the government had not formally negotiated with the bidders. The government then attempted to lower the bids by agreeing to cutbacks and the transfer of risks back to the government. The contracts, which were valued at 2 billion euros, were eventually signed in July 2000. The final version reflected cutbacks (euphemistically called "optimisations") of approximately 540 million euros from the original private bids. The ultimate bid was 265 million higher than the expected contract value. The 265 million comprised 220 million euros plus an amount of 45 million euros, as parts of the substructure contract had been shifted onto the infrastructure provider contract.

My emphases.

the Betuweroute, which was actually constructed with very little construction cost overruns

Then again, there was no real PPP there. From the same source as above:

By 1998, privatisation had not yet been achieved. Because construction could not wait, the cabinet opted for prior public financing. The construction of the physical foundation for the railroad, the substructure (foundation, tunnels, viaducts), was contracted out in the traditional manner...

The market exploration also showed that the private parties were unwilling to participate as risk takers in the operation, and the tender procedure was postponed. The government would operate the line...

The privatisation objectives of the Betuwe Line have not been achieved. The project has been completely prepared, built and financed in the public realm. Maintenance and operation are also in public hands. The desired private contributions were not secured, nor were the possible advantages of contracts with innovative solutions and efficiency advantages.



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Dec 18th, 2009 at 03:53:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]


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